“Shepherding a Child’s Heart” (my thoughts on the book)

My sister recently asked me what my favorite book was.  Without hesitation, I told her that, although “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” may not be my favorite in terms of reading enjoyment, it totally TRANSFORMED the way I parent.


BOOK:  “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”
AUTHOR:  Tedd TrippScreen shot 2015-11-17 at 11.59.45 AM


This book shows us the benefits of taking the time to really examine our child’s misbehavior or disobedience.  Once we establish the ‘why‘ or heart-issue (Luke 6:45) with the child, we can take that opportunity to patiently direct them towards God’s word.  But, Tripp places a HUGE importance on US also exposing our OWN sin nature.  This allows the child to see that we are not perfect.  And, it also allows parents to show the child specific (real, honest and ugly) ways God has helped US in this area.

  • Your child’s HEART determines his BEHAVIOR.  Work on getting to his HEART.  Focus on what’s going on inside.
  • Everyone, children included, is wired to worship something.  We’ve got to be careful of our own ‘idols(what we worship- ie: sports, power, stuff, control, technology, etc.).  Furthermore, we also need to help our child identify what he may easily put above everything else.
  •   Our #1 Family Goal:  Glorify God  (Say this a lot to your child:  “Because you are made BY GOD and FOR GOD!”)
  • I must be what I want THEM to be!  I must POUR INTO ME what I want to pour into them.  Make TIME to be with God.
  • There are several methods of SHEPHERDING your child, but they all:
    • require TIME
    • require great listening
    • require being TRANSPARENT (regarding YOUR weaknesses and testimony)
    • require being INTENTIONAL


  • you’re ready to STOP addressing the SAME behavior problems over-and-over again.
  • you’re ready to see a HUGE change in the child’s HEART (after you’re prepared to be honest about your own shortcomings).

Faith based?       Yes.
Easy read?          No.
Age group?         Read as EARLY and SOON as possible!  (Even a 2 year old could greatly benefit!)


This book helped me to understand how MY OWN actions will not only affect my children’s BEHAVIOR, it will also greatly affect their own FAITH JOURNEY.

In the past, if I saw a negative behavior in one of my children, I would either choose to ignore it, quickly try to ‘fix’ it or threaten a punishment if it continued. (And, honestly, NONE of these were working!)  However, after finishing the book, I decided to test out this new approach:

{One child}‘s crying got louder and louder while {the other child} got more and more irritated and grouchy.  When it started getting worse, I called {the other child} into the bedroom alone.  I took the time to IDENTIFY the problem.  I related the ‘heart issue’ (sin) to God’s word.  Then, I did the HARDEST part…   I was honest about times when I had these SAME ‘heart issues”.  It sounded something like this:

“Hey {the other child…}?  Do you remember when we first moved to Arkansas and I got so frustrated with {one child} and yelled SO loud?!?!  I use to get upset too sometimes.  But, I started praying God would give me more JOY and LOVE.  And, have you noticed how much more patient I’ve been?!?!  We can start praying for God to replace your frustration with love.”

If I told you how long the two of us sat on the bedroom floor together (and the amount of tears we BOTH cried), you’d either be REALLY excited to read this book or scared-to-death that EVERY ‘little issue’ would now require MUCH more thought, effort, emotion, investment and time.  But, I promiseOnce you begin this way of ‘shepherding your child’s heart,’ you’ll be SO surprised to see how tender EVERYONE’S heart, including your own, will become!

* During our study on this book, the pastor’s wife encouraged us.  She said if we were correctly applying these principals with our children, by the end of the day, we should be SOOO emotionally AND mentally drained!  (Check!  Check-Check!)



  • “Children trust you when they know you love them and are committed to their good, when they know you understand them, when they know you understand their strengths and weaknesses, when they know that you have invested yourself in encouragement, correction, rebuke, entreaty, instruction, warning, understanding, teaching and prayer.  When a child knows that all his life you have sought to see the world through his eyes, he will trust you.  When he knows that you have not tried to make him like you or like anybody else, but only sought to help him realize his full potential as a creature God made to know him and live in the relationship of fellowship with him, he will trust you.”
  • “Parenting is your primary calling.  Parenting will mean that you can’t do all the things that you could otherwise do.”
  • This shepherding process is a richer interaction than telling your child what to do and think.  It involves investing your life in your child in open and honest communication that unfolds the meaning and purpose of life.  It is not simply direction, but direction in which there is self-disclosure and sharing.  Values and spiritual vitality are not simply taught, but caught.”
  • “We demand changed behavior and never address the heart that drives the behavior.”
  • “You only muddy the waters when the bottom line in discipline is your displeasure over their behavior, rather than God’s displeasure with rebellion against his ordained authority.”
  • “Teaching your children to live for the glory of God must be your overarching objective.  You must teach your children that for them, as for all of mankind, life is found in knowing and serving the true and living God.  The only worthy goal for life is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
  • “If the goal of parenting is no more profound than securing appropriate behavior, we will never help our children understand the internal things, the heart issues, that push and pull behavior.  Those internal issues: self-love, rebellion, anger, bitterness, envy and pride of the heart show our children how profoundly they need grace.  If the problem with children is deeper than inappropriate behavior, if the problem is the overflow of the heart, then the need for grace is established.”
  • “One of the most important callings God has given parents is to display the greatness, goodness and glory of the God for whom they are made.  Parents have the opportunity, through word and deed, to show children the one true object of worship- the God of the Bible.”



“Wise Words for Moms” app:  AWESOME app that allows you to choose from many common ‘heart issues’ with children and gives you specific Bible verses that can be used to help teach your child.

Please let me know if this was helpful!
I have lots more books (that have really helped me a lot) that I’d LOVE to share!

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